So, it occurs to me that there may be some “discrepancies” in the presentation of Starship Moonhawk: “The Mercadian Affair”. Especially when it comes to character appearance, old art vs. new, the use of various artists and the differing styles of uniforms, insignia, etc. This document will attempt to clarify some things for new readers and old readers alike. So, here we go…

Q) What is going on?

A) The comic you see on the Internet begins approximately 5 years (story time) into my Starship Moonhawk series. This is something I have been working on off and on for the better part of 2 decades. The first incarnation was a short story I wrote in 1996 which has since been incorporated into my first “official” novel: “How to Steal a Starship” (available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats). This is the continuing story of the “largest gun in the universe” and her crew, led by Admiral Gilliad Cobalt.

Q) In “The Mercadian Affair”, there are a number of inconsistencies in presentation, particularly in art, coloring, and style. What is going on here?

A) I have been attempting to complete some coherent version of this storyline off and on since 2001. Here are the relevant things you need to know for complete understanding:

1) In my final rewrite, I intended to give Rachael Harrison a larger role since she is a fan favorite character. I cannot accomplish this because it requires too much coordination with other people who possess high resolution artwork I do not have control over. So, while she does appear, her “expanded” role is going to be “hand-waved” out. Not to fear, she has more scenes in upcoming episodes, and even one where she takes center stage.

2) Milea… well, this is a sticky one. All you need to know is that Milea should a) have burgundy-red hair like in preceding (act I and II) and proceeding (act IV and V) pages. The brown/blonde thing is a holdover from old art so… simply ignore it. b) I had originally intended the Mercadians to have much more obvious cat-like features in my second re-boot. Things like digitgrade (think like a dog or cat’s) legs and one less finger. This has be retconed (retroactively contradicted) to how they were in 1.0 for aesthetic reasons. So if it appears that Milea looks a bit more… animal-like in Act III… ignore it. I made some minor efforts to conceal that. Pretend she appears as she does in Act I, II, IV, and V. Changing the art would change almost nothing about the story at this point, so I am willing to take this one for the team.

3) There are some elements of dialog that will still need to be fixed to make even the “hand waves” work. Rest assured, I will be changing Paladin’s dialog to Sakeela in the corridor to reflect a change in direction to “engineering” instead of “gunnery control”. Preston’s inclusion in this version is… once again, an unintended distraction. She was supposed to be a casualty for dramatic reasons. I decided that a meaningless slaughter of a tertiary character the audience has no connection to would be a waste. Maybe she’ll do something important in a later episode. Who knows. Also, Cobalt’s line to Harrison about the “strike team” is going bye-bye. By the way, if the dialog is already fixed by the time you read this, then disregard the first part of this note, and the sentence just before this one.

4) I assume I will get some major flak from non-military types about the sudden change to the khaki uniforms from the fancier blue uniform I have been parading around with for a while now. There is a simple, and valid “hand-wave” explanation for this as well. In the Navy, there are a number of actual duty uniforms. The most common of these are the service khakis, office whites and winter blues (and a much more common “working” khakis for officers and “dungarees” for enlisted). They are determined as a “uniform of the day” posted by the duty officer in the “Plan of the Day” (usually a bulletin board. In the case of Starship Moonhawk, this “bulletin board” is virtual on some kind of computerized device). So in this instance, the duty uniform changed during shift rotation to the service khakis and dungarees on the Horizon. It’s not a great explanation, but if you think about it, still reasonable.

5) Kraz – Yes, he has brown hair so he looks like a cat version of his father. Ignore the blonde hair when you see his body in sickbay at the end of Act III. That was another “quality assurance” change for the final re-boot that probably won’t be fixed.

Q) Are you concerned that this will make print volumes of “The Mercadian Affair” difficult?

A) There won’t be one, and there was never a plan to make one. So, no. I am not.

Q:Who are the Crysallis?

A: Space vagabonds, mercenaries and pirates with bone and mineral exoskeletal plates sticking out at various points around their bodies. Currently, they are divided into factions based on the primary and secondary colors: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Purple. Each one representing a different aspect of their society. The exact location of the lost Crysallis home world is unknown, so tracing their evolution is virtually impossible as they have spent unknown generations is space, traveling around in their worldships. A common epithet (akin to humans saying “Goddammit!” or variations thereof) is “Great Statues of Old!” This references the one set of artifacts allegedly salvaged from their doomed home origin: a series of statues depicting their gods and greatest heroes of legend. They were placed on a space ark shortly before the destruction of their home planet. In addition to the statues, rumor has it that the entire recorded history of the Crysallian people was transcribed and placed in this ark as well. The current whereabouts of this ark is unknown…

CURRENT STATUS: Enemy of the United Star Alliance; Armistice

I hope this clears some things up. I will add things to this as I gain additional reader feedback.